Land of Cokaygne

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The poem that I will study is entitled the Land Of Cokaygne and it belongs to the “Kildare poems”. The Kildare poems are a group of sixteen poems written in an Irish dialect of Middle English and dated to the mid-14th century. Together with a second, shorter set of poems in the so-called Loscombe Manuscript, they constitute the first and most important linguistic document of the early development of Irish English in the centuries after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. The poems have religious and satirical contents. They are preserved in a single manuscript in the British Library, where they are scattered between a number of Latin and Old French texts. The conventional modern designation "Kildare poems" refers both to the town of Kildare in Ireland, which has been proposed as their likely place of origin, and to the name of the author of at least one of the poems, who calls himself "Michael (of) Kildare". The authors or compilers were probably Franciscan monks

So what is a land of Cockaygne : it is a medieval mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist. So it’s actually a utopian world. it’s a theme or a world that belongs to the European folklore Some critics focused on its Irish provenance and according to them the poems have some relationship with the Old French Fabliau de Cocagne (1250) and the Middle Dutch Dit is van date dele Land van Cockaengen ( but in don’t have the date) This poem is seen as a satire, a parody and a burlesque text. We can actually say that his text is also content some element of Utopia because it deals with a sort of mythic world which is better than Heaven. This theme is not something new because according to Professor Bella Millet, it comes from three main traditions: * The classical tradition: and we can refer to True History by Lucian, a Greek work of the second century AD which deals with a comical paradise full of drinks, food and women * The Christian tradition: we can refer to Alexander the Great’s description of the Heaven and the Earthly Paradise * The Goliardic tradition too: one Latin poem of the twelfth century (Carmina Burana 222) is spoken an 'abbot of Cockaygne' who presides over drinking and gambling, and the descriptions of the two abbeys in Cockaygne, which invert the usual norms of religious life, echo themes found elsewhere in Goliardic poetry

According to Wim Tigges, who makes an interesting paper on the Land of Cokaygne ( that I used in order to do my presentation) the poem is based or develops some variants of the Other World which are : * the land of fair ease whose bliss consists in a superfluity of food and drinks. This land is separated from the outside world by an unpleasant obstacle * the earthly Paradise of the Christian legend

* the Celtic myths of the blessed isles : a land, traditionally located near the place where the sun sets, to which the souls of the good were taken to enjoy a life of eternal bliss. OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

* There is also an echo to the fabulous western island described in the Old Irish Travelogues and it seems to be parodied in the text

* Some account of the Golden Age : it echoes the Ovid’s Metamorphoses

* It’s based also on the medieval tradition of the locus amoenus ( I will give a def. latter)

* And , The notion of the cloister as a paradise

We will know focus on the text which is composed of several parts and we will see that the poem is actually a folk-tall based on satire and irony. In this first part, the poem opens on the description of the Land of Cockaygne, a land that seems to be better that Heaven as we see line 3 to 6 : “no place on earth compares to this – for sheer delightfulness and bliss – thought paradise is fair and bright- cockaygne is finer sight”. The author gives us all the assets of this...
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